By Simon Dang | The Playlist May 8, 2011 at 2:49AM
First Look At Albert Brooks, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston & Oscar Isaac
With the Cannes Film Festival right around the corner, one film we're champing at the bit to hear and see more of, is Nicolas Winding Refn's latest effort, "Drive."
Based on the novel by James Sallis, Refn’s reportedly lean-and-mean picture stars Ryan Gosling as Driver -- a stunt driver moonlighting as a getaway-driver-for-hire who gets mixed up with the wrong people. We've already had our first glimpse at a few pictures and a 2-minute clip but now, thanks to the the film's Cannes press kit, we have a handful of new images to admire, including first looks at many of the stellar supporting cast, like Albert Brooks, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston and Oscar Isaac.
First up is Irene, played by rising British star Carey Mulligan. After a chance encounter between them, Driver and Irene's relationship begins to flourish, and develops into a "'Romeo And Juliet' kind of love story" -- that is, of course, until Irene' s husband Standard (described by actor Oscar Isaac as "someone who made some wrong decisions in his life, ending up in a bad place") returns from prison early and is immediately threatened by Driver's presence in his family's life. Chaos is sure to ensue.
Driver's back-up is his "part mentor, part manager" Shannon, played by "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston. The actor was evidently Refn's number one choice and was pursued aggressively for the role. "After we closed the ﬁnancing, it was like ‘okay, who would I like in this movie besides Ryan?,’ and Bryan was someone that I went for like a hawk. Bryan is very much the kind of actor where it’s not just voice; it’s everything that comes with him," Refn said.
Driver finds himself taking on Brooks' antagonist Bernie Rose, reportedly a gangster-turned-potential-financial-backer for Driver's racing ambitions. The role is described by Refn as "so violent [and] so dark" that he didn't think Brooks would be interested, but the former comedy star agreed to jump into the spotlight anyway. Perlman, on the other hand, plays an acquaintance of Rose's named Nino, described by Perlman as the dream role of "a Jewish man who wants to be an Italian gangster." "Mad Men" star Hendricks has the mysterious "small but crucial" part of Blanche.
Having been floored by Refn's last two efforts, "Bronson" and "Valhalla Rising," we can't wait for this one, particularly with this cast attached. Here's the full synopsis and the cover of the press kit which may very well double as an early teaser poster.
DRIVE is the story of a Hollywood stunt driver by day, a loner by nature who moonlights as a top-notch getaway driver-for-hire in the criminal underworld. He finds himself a target for some of LA's most dangerous men after agreeing to aid the husband of his beautiful neighbor, Irene. When the job goes dangerously awry, the only way he can keep Irene and her son alive is to do what he does best.
"Drive" premieres on the Croisette Friday week, May 20th.